I love mission statements. Whether you are a business, a political campaign or a non-profit community organization they go right to the heart of why these things exist.
Here is the mission statement of Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood works to educate and empower communities, provide quality health care, lead the reproductive rights movement, and advance global health. Planned Parenthood believes sexual and reproductive health rights are basic rights.
Simple and to the point and it is the reason I support this important organization.
And yet--there are those who would do everything in their power to disrupt this important service for women and families.
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway reportedly went to see President Trump this past Friday to once again recommend he follows through on his campaign promises to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The Trump administration is debating whether to cut off abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from Title X family-planning funding, a move that would potentially force the organization to choose between losing the funding or ending abortion referrals.
According to some sources, Conway informed Trump about the "prayer and protest" rallies that ran over the weekend at more than 140 Planned Parenthood locations throughout the country, where activists called on Trump to stop taxpayer funding of abortion businesses. Conway also highlighted that Planned Parenthood spends millions on political races.
Some conservative leaders believe the President won’t make any decision until his daughter Ivanka weighs in on the policy.
The proposed changes to Title X, which provides grants for family planning programs and is separate from Medicaid, would resemble the Reagan-era rule that prohibited health care providers receiving Title X funding from providing abortions, or information and/or referrals for abortions. Providers also had to physically and financially separate a clinic's privately-funded abortion services from its Title X services.
Title X has a budget of $286 million and provides funding for around 4,000 clinics that serve about four million women. Planned Parenthood says it makes up about 500 of the clinics, and serves about 1.5 million of the patients. The bulk of Planned Parenthood's federal funding (75%) comes from Medicaid, and would not be affected by a proposed Title X change.
This new effort to restrict Planned Parenthood funding comes at the same time Cecile Richards steps down as president of the organization after more than a decade of service. Richards also has released a new book (Make Trouble) which chronicles her life of activism and the lessons she’s learned. Richards has vowed to direct her energies towards voter registration and the 2018 elections.
Conservatives and conservative media outlets have long targeted and attacked Planned Parenthood. So, it was somewhat surprising and amusing when a recent Fox News poll found that Planned Parenthood was more popular than the National Rifle Association. In fact, of the organizations mentioned in the poll, Planned Parenthood was the most respected political organization; more popular than the FBI, the #MeToo movement or Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The results should come as no surprise given the trusted relationship that many Americans have with Planned Parenthood. For over a century, the organization has fought for the rights of people to control their bodies, to choose if and when to have families, and to decide their own futures. Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide millions of patients essential critical reproductive health care services, including birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, safe and legal abortion, and more.
Anti-abortion politicians in Congress and state legislatures might say they represent voters, but the show of public support for Planned Parenthood suggests otherwise. The recent show of support indicates that the attacks on reproductive health care are completely at odds with public sentiment.
It’s clear that Americans share the belief that all people should have access to quality, affordable health care regardless of income, insurance or immigration status. If politicians don’t share these values, they don’t deserve to represent us.
Cecile Richards is right when she says we must elect leaders who will fight with us for the world we want. It’s why millions marched, and why we’ll vote to ensure access to safe and legal abortion, affordable birth control and health care equity. If we move forward together, we will win.